Well ... the chocolate hearts are gone ... the "I Love You" balloons too. The cold box is empty ... and all a great big thanks to YOU!
Another Valentine's day has come and gone, and I'm just coming up for air. You'd think after doing the Valentine's Day "dance" (or should I call it "sprint!) for as long as I have, I'd grow tired of it all. Never!
And I can honestly say ... THIS WAS OUR BEST VALENTINE'S DAY EVER!
While some people count their blessings in dollars, at this time in my life, I'd rather count them in "sense."
Let me explain.
My sister and I began this journey over 15 years ago when we built our little "Gingerbread House" gift shop (1996) right here at 730 6th Street. Then, a year later, we bought a flower shop (Cindy's Flower Pot) and moved down the street. Within two years, we doubled Cindy's sales, and on Valentine's Day, 1998, we had over 200 deliveries. We were crazy ... no I mean, REALLY CRAZY! Back then we accepted wire service, and I wanted them ALL! We had drivers running from Willows to Rancho Tehama, Elk Creek to Durham, and I took every order that was flung my way. It defied good sense!
Well, with 16 Valentine's Days under my belt, I've learned a few things.
First ... everyone loses with wire service. The "ticket takers" and wire companies take the profit, leaving us, the little old flowershop owners, to do the dirty-work. Customers are up-charged with service fees. They find that they paid a lot of money, and all things considered, had little to show for it. Those "cookie-cutter," mass-produced arrangements have little character ... they are designed by the wire order companies so that ANYONE can make them ... talent and floral design experience are not a factor since they don't know who might get the order, and there is no guarantee that the person filling the order has the experience required to do a good job. Even local customers were sending "via wire," in essence shipping dollars out of the area, then having the work circle back to me to fill with fewer dollars.
It defied good sense.
I decided "working for free" wasn't working for me, and the "fleecing" my customers were silently taking with the upcharges simply didn't make sense either. After struggling with the issue for quite some time, I dropped all wire service back in November. I must say, I was a little concerned how it would affect my "bottom line," especially since Teleflora had administered my old "generic" website and I had a struggle getting them to release my domain name at Salvagnos.com back to my control! Valentine's Day was the first true test of my new "owner-built" site, and I'm happy to report, SalvagnosFlowers.com has received over 2,000 "clicks" so far this month ... and I'm lovin' it!!!
Second, there's no fun in the frenzy. Trying to meet (much less exceed) the expectations of over 200 senders, and 200 recipients, within a single day? Humanly Impossible with the resources at hand! Remember, Valentine's Day is a "Day," not a "Week"! The moment is lost when the flowers arrive the day after Valentine's Day ... which I understand happened to thousands of Teleflora customers due to a "glitch" in the system nationwide!
Third ... Diversity is the Key! Times are changing, and so must we. Rather than relying on flowers, flowers, flowers ... we incorporated more choices into the mix. Beautifully Boxed Chocolates and Cake Pops from our candy counter! Honey and Gift Baskets! Candy Bouquets! Cookie Bouquets! Greeting Cards (over a 1,000 choices in stock now)! Beautiful Handmade Jewelry! More options than you could imagine.
And Fourth ... empower your people! For the first time ever, I actually stepped back and let my "youngsters" run the front-shop show. Was I ever impressed! Instead of my sleep-deprived, weary face at the counter, customers were greeted by my cutie princesses, Sara and Lea. And Wow! What a great job they did.
When it all came together last Thursday, it all made sense! The front shop was happy and chipper ... the design room was humming with creative spirit (Jim, Tammy, and, for the first time in sixteen years, ME!), and the delivery warehouse was efficient and upbeat ... even Mindy from Special Times Catering jumped right in there to lend a hand, making her very first Candy Bouquet to help us keep up with the pace!
So thank you, again! I am just as thrilled to see a familiar face as I am when a new customer drops in and says "This is the first time I've come in your shop!" This Valentine's Day we had so many of both, and it was great fun.
So, from how I see it my decision to put quality ahead of all else makes good sense. And good sense leads to a the awakening of many other senses: A a sense of balance ... a sense of artistry ... a sense of accomplishment ... and most of all, a sense of happiness!